As a facilitator of various types experiences including Kundalini Yoga, Sound Baths, Meditation, and more, I often get asked about sleep and how it can be improved. Even though getting to sleep seems to be the issue, we need to look at how we live our lives while we are awake. For it is the conscious decisions throughout the day which will have all the bearing on how we sleep.
I will spare you the lecture on not drinking caffeine after 2 pm, that’s a given. What we eat and when we eat all contribute to the full restfulness we will receive. One should never eat two hours before bed simply because that is the time it takes for the body to digest the food within your stomach. Even if you fall asleep, your bodies energy is in digestion rather than the resting rejuvenation. Given the various lives we live, this can be challenge when our schedules shift our eating.
Food is one thing that contributes, but the mind is the aspect of the self which needs controlled to attain a proper state of rest. The daily practice of meditation and sound allows us to rewire our subconscious mind and entrain ourselves with the natural brain waves and rhythms we cycle through within the day. Meditation inhibits subconscious and unconscious overload. Nightmares and excess dreaming (although an amazing practice to study the self) is often a symptom of an overloaded nervous system. The unconscious mind becomes full which then spills into the subconscious and is then filtered through the conscious mind in the form of nightmares.
Meditation, when done on a regular basis, allows the brain to entrain itself in various different brain waves. Through the day we shift through the four major brain waves; beta, alpha, theta, and delta. Each has a specific characteristic that shows the inner activity and fluctuations, or vrittis, which display the movement of the mind. Once we access these, the subconscious can activate them when we need to. Delta, which is associated with deep sleep, can be accessed unconsciously when meditation is practiced on a regular basis.
When you access these states, there is still one more important thing. It is to not allow anything to carry over into the next day. You may have work, or something that needs to be finished, but allowing your emotional and subtle bodies to be embodied will disconnect the illusion with the reality. The reality you ask? The truth is that each emotion is a passing dream…a conscious memory of the now. Allowing them to live and be heard will bring ourselves into a greater being. Sitting in meditation at the end of the day, and reviewing how you felt can be quite beneficial for enhanced sleep.
Here are some practices you can try if you are having trouble sleeping. Some of them may work better than others so it is a good practice to explore.
1. Left nostril breathing: Blocking off you your right nostril, breathe long and deep through the left. This nostril is associated with the feminine moon energy, which is cooling and helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. Practice this for at least three minutes.
2. Running your feet under cold water: This helps to bring the energy back down, allowing a grounding element to come into our being.
3. Massage under your right arm pit: This works wonders for me. There is a big nerve called the brachial plexus which runs through the arm pit. Massage it for three minutes and you should start yawning immediately!
4. Process your day: Sitting in meditation for three to seven minutes and reviewing your day is a great way to process. If there were elements left unresolved or you feel bothered by them, experience the emotion fully…be it anger, sadness, joy, allow it to be.
Sleep well child, the world needs your gifts.
Jarrod Byrne Mayer has experienced the use of sound as a profound tool in self actualization and the awakening of our soul, which invites all to live a fuller life. Through writing and direct experience, he channels the realizations of the soul. Currently residing in Brooklyn, NY, Jarrod is a Kundalini Yogi, Sonotherapist, and Nada Yoga teacher. Graduating from Kent State University with a degree in English, he co-founded Brooklyn Healing Arts with his wife, Melody. They travel and spread the experience of sound and the teachings and wisdom found within sound and yoga.